In a quiet meadow near a Czech village, a public jukebox spins the hits

The work of artist Krištof Kintera the jukebox has traveled to beaches and city squares around the world; now it's back home to stay

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 07.10.2020 11:00 (updated on 07.10.2020)

Visitors to the forest surrounding the village of Svatý Jan near the Sedlčany region of the Czech Republic may stumble across an unlikely site: a public jukebox loaded with tracks from the Talking Heads, The Stones, and Chopin.

The fully operational, solar-powered jukebox, stationed on a steel pedestal in a field adjacent to a wooded area, is the work of Czech artist Krištof Kintera. It was unveiled recently as part of the 4 + 4 days in motion festival, running now through October 17. 

"Finding a permanent place in nature for the jukebox came to us as the best idea from the beginning," Kintera told Czech daily iDnes.cz. "It already contrasts sharply with the landscape and nature with its essence of a kind of cultural concentrate. Standing in a meadow by the forest gives a charmingly inappropriate impression."

First unveiled in Bratislava seven years ago, the sculputre has been exhibited all over the world. It'll remain a permanent fixture along the green tourist route that connects the settlement of Zrůbek with the nearby village of Hojšín. 

The working jukebox plays hundreds of songs from Nordic speed metal to audio collages of guinea pigs and honking geese. Some tracks are sped up or played backward. The jukebox switches off at 10pm and the volume has been reduced so as not to disturb the wildlife and inhabitants of the surrounding area.

To visit the woodland jukebox, you can take a bus from Smíchovské nádraží to Zrůbek or travel by car -- the journey is about 50 minutes (park at the Restaurant Zrůbek U Fárů and walk along the green tourist sign in the direction of Hrachov).

Photo via Kristof Kintera / Facebook
Photo via Kristof Kintera / Facebook

The 4 + 4 days in motion festival features a line-up of international contemporary art and is celebrating 25 years in 2020. On the program, fine arts, theatre premieres, dance performances, concerts, workshops, discussions, and lectures.

Kintera exhibited his Nervous Trees show at Galerie Rudolfinum in 2017; his other work includes a Nuselský Bridge monument to victims of suicide.